Hitachi builds foreign ties as U.S.-Japan trade deadline looms

September 28, 1994

Vendor imports Lorad mammography units into JapanHitachi Medical of Tokyo is preparing for dramatic changes inthe way Japanese hospitals purchase medical equipment if tradetalks between the U.S. and Japan are successful. To counter anexpected

Vendor imports Lorad mammography units into Japan

Hitachi Medical of Tokyo is preparing for dramatic changes inthe way Japanese hospitals purchase medical equipment if tradetalks between the U.S. and Japan are successful. To counter anexpected drop in sales of Japanese-manufactured equipment, Hitachihas entered into an agreement with Lorad to import mammographysystems into Japan.

Under the agreement, Hitachi has exclusive rights to distributeLorad's entire line of mammography products in Japan, accordingto Hal Kirshner, Lorad president. Lorad, of Danbury, CT, did nothave an extensive sales presence in Japan before the agreement.

Hitachi already markets its own mammography system in Japan.Linking with Lorad, however, will give the company access to theU.S. vendor's leading-edge technology, including its DSM digitalspot mammography system and StereoGuide breast biopsy table. Loradhas already sold several systems to Hitachi for export to Japan,Kirshner said.

"This is a major agreement for Lorad with a company thathas an outstanding reputation in the medical arena in Japan,"Kirshner said. "It's very important."

Hitachi may need a beefier mammography line if talks betweenthe U.S. and Japan on medical device buying prove fruitful. TheU.S. is trying to open up the Japanese government procurementprocess for medical and telecommunications technology to makeit easier for U.S. companies to sell their wares in Japan.

Those talks hit a snag this summer, and the U.S. set in motiona 60-day deadline for negotiators to reach an agreement beforetrade sanctions could be applied (SCAN 8/31/94). Despite the impasse,both sides are hopeful that an accord can be reached by the Sept.30 deadline, according to a representative of the Health IndustryManufacturers Association.

Hitachi is betting that the talks will succeed. In an articlein the Japanese daily Nihon Keizai Shimbun, the company said thatthe agreement with Lorad is one of several Hitachi is pursuingwith foreign suppliers. Hitachi expects sales of Japanese-manufacturedequipment to drop once the government procurement talks are concluded,the newspaper said.